“Mom? Does this match?”
“You can NOT do white socks with black dress shoes.”
“Mommmmy! I can’t find my hairbrush!”
“Can we PLEEEZ get doughnuts after church?! Pleeeeeeeease? It’s been weeks!”
“We had them last Sunday.”
“Yeah, but they obviously weren’t that good… because I don’t even remember them. Pleeease?!”
“It’s 8:17! We need to be in the car 5 minutes ago…”
“Did you brush your teeth?! Get in there and brush your teeth!”
“Why are you crying?!”
“He kicked my purse. It’s ruined!”
“GET IN THE CAR!
In the mad scramble before leaving for 8:45 mass, I grabbed a pair of black dress pants to put on. When I went into the closet I had thought, “It’s Mother’s Day. I should wear something festive. Perhaps a dress…” Instead, I grabbed a nice, but a very plain pair of old black pants. You might say they picked me since they’re certainly not what I had in mind as “festive,” but I didn’t have time to dawdle so I just went with it. Before kids, I used to spend gobs of time painstakingly considering each color coordinated, name brand garment before I went anywhere. Now I grab and dash! 5 minutes and I’m ready to meet the Queen. Take that Meghan Markle! Can I get an AMEN from all you lovely moms out there?
It wasn’t until the very end of mass, when I bowed my head for a special mothers’ blessing, glimpsing the familiar crease in the pant legs, that I remembered the significance of this particular article of clothing. They are the bottom half of an expensive suit I bought about 12 years ago in anticipation of a big job interview. I remember when the suit arrived in the mail. I unwrapped the JCrew packaging and breathed in the newness of the as yet unwashed fabric. The stylish suit exuded good things to come, a promising new job on the horizon.
I proudly wore the pants to the interview and proceeded to nail it!
But, God had very different plans for me… A day or two after my successful job interview, I found out I was pregnant. At a seasoned 34 years-old, and pregnant for the first time in my life, I could not have been happier. My potential employer invited me to meet to discuss the terms of the job. I was going to find out how much they planned to pay me. I again suited up with the stylish black ensemble, but this time as I stepped into each pant leg, I thought about how this brand new suit, in short order, would probably not fit me again for a very long while. The idea of my expanding girth made me giddy.
I turned down a lucrative offer that day. I told them I had a bigger job in my sights, motherhood. An exciting career change was not the easiest thing to say no to, but it felt right. Truthfully, I never once wavered. I knew it wouldn’t be fair to take the job if I intended to quit in a matter of months to assume the role I had looked forward to since I was a young girl.
They could not have been more gracious in accepting my news, and dare I say, disappointed. That felt good. But the hope of what was looming in my husband’s and my future felt even more promising.
Twelve years later, I’m wearing those pants on Mother’s day with my husband and my three children happily sidled up against me in Church. I’m reminded of all that has passed since I first slipped them on, oh so many years ago. The passage of time since motherhood is like everything else, wonky but beautiful. Has it only been 12 years? Sometimes it feels like 50. Other times it feels like the span of the blink of an eye. Either way, it has been sacred, holy time. It has been a chance for me to appreciate my own mother and all she sacrificed. A time to draw closer to my Blessed Mother who has gently guided me to her son’s Sacred Heart filled with His limitless love and mercy. And a time to lose myself in order to find my true identity. I’m a mom. Not because I chose to be, but because God ordained it. Through gritted teeth, I am so grateful for every tantrum, every late night feeding, every awful anxiety-inducing virus and head trauma and every time I’m certain I’ve ruined my children forever. With His help, I stagger across the finish line of every evening. Sometimes it is with serious dark circles of fatigue and worry around my weary eyes. Occasionally, it’s with a self-satisfied smile. But it is always with His grace!
To the casual observer, this pair of plain old black pants is exactly that—plain and old. No one else would ever know the significance of what they represent in my life’s journey. But that’s ok. I’m proud to say I still fit in them. Yay! They’re not as on trend as they once were and they’ve gotten a little worn near the cuff. But I will continue to treasure them. To me, they are a sign of an incredible gift. Neither deserved nor something I worked to achieve. Grace abounds! These pants are part of the uniform I don every day as a brand new creation of God.
God be with all of you Moms on Mother’s Day! And a blessed Feast of the Ascension. I’m wearing my pants. Christ is sporting His crown.
Deep sigh of satisfaction.